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Saints vs. Cardinals: Week 7 Preview

Saints vs Cardinals
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The New Orleans Saints 2022 season is on the verge of collapsing after suffering another baffling loss. Their most recent defeat came against the Cincinnati Bengals. The game was billed as a homecoming reunion for players such as Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Trey Hendrickson, Eli Apple, and Vonn Bell. Despite rushing for 228 rushing yards in last Sunday’s game against Cincinnati, the effort was not enough to leave the Superdome with a win.

The loss to the Bengals drops the Saints to a 2-4 record, which places them in third place in the NFC South. New Orleans heads to the desert on a short week to take on the Arizona Cardinals on Amazon Prime’s Thursday Night Football. Like the Saints, the Cardinals have issues that have clouded their 2022 campaign.

On the bright side for Arizona, their top wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins returns to the lineup after being suspended for six games. He violated the league’s substance abuse policy, leading to a six-game suspension. On Monday, they added another option to their passing attack when they acquired Robbie Anderson from the Carolina Panthers. Based on the current injury report, the Saints will not have players such as cornerback Marshon Lattimore and wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Michael Thomas. Rookie WR Chris Olave returns to the lineup after suffering a concussion in Week 5 against the Seattle Seahawks.

What Do the Saints Need to Do to Win?

Containing Cardinals QB Kyler Murray will be the Saints’ top objective on Thursday night. However, that will be a tall order for the New Orleans defense. Since 2020, the unit has struggled to disrupt mobile quarterbacks. When Eagles QB Jalen Hurts made his debut in 2020, he rained for over 100 yards on the Saints’ defense.

While he did not rush for another 100 yards in the rematch, Hurts would have another stellar performance against the same group in 2021. He accounted for three touchdown scores in last season’s 40-29 victory over New Orleans. In the Week 1 opener against the Falcons, QB Marcus Mariota carried the ball 12 times for 72 yards and averaged 6.0 yards per carry.

On Thursday night, the Saints’ defense must figure out a way to minimize Murray’s play-making ability. Depending on how they do, it could be a forecast of what is to come when facing mobile QBs such as Lamar Jackson and Hurts once again. Even though Hopkins’s presence on the field will be something that the Saints must account for on Thursday, I don’t believe he will have the impact we are accustomed to seeing in previous games. They must maintain their edge as an elite rushing attack regarding the offense. Currently, the Saints are ranked 7th in the league averaging 151.5 rushing yards per game. Unlike last week, New Orleans must turn trips to the red zone into touchdowns instead of field goal attempts. Their failure to do so is one of the primary reasons they fell short against the Bengals in Week 6.

What Is Going to Happen?

With New Orleans Pelicans basketball quickly gaining momentum, the Saints must win Thursday’s game against Arizona if they want the fans to remain interested. Even with a short week to prepare, the Saints should have enough firepower to pull off a victory on Thursday night. Right now, the Cardinals are a team that is struggling on offense. The Saints need to take them down while receivers Hopkins and Anderson acclimate to the scheme. New Orleans wins by a touchdown.

Saints      28

Cardinals 21

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Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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